Tag Archives: Rift Prime

Something Missing in Scarlet Gorge

Yes, I am still playing Rift Prime, though I haven’t spent much time there over the last few of weeks.  I’ve made a bit of progress, but events in New Eden and a growing sense of ennui has dominated my play time.

Tiger racing through the sticks, trumped by spaceship politics

While I was caught up in levels… or so I felt… I did linger about Stonefield for a bit longer to wrap up a few achievements.  Alas, I could not find two more quests to get the achievement for that, but I did find the torch up on the rocks above Granite Falls for the Dancing with Squirrels.

Stop… Squirrel Time

From there I headed into Scarlet Gorge, the next zone up the chain.

Looking into Scarlet Gorge

I did notice that, as I passed into the zone there was a quest giver standing off to one side who gave me passage through the portal into Iron Pine Peaks.  That was nice, and I filed that away for later, because in my head, IPP was a higher level zone and not something I would bother with at that point.

Scarlet Gorge started as I remembered and I ran through the initial quest chain and followed it northward up the valley until it sort of stopped at about the mid point.  It felt like I missed a chain or a turn somewhere.  I rode further up and ended in mobs that were four and more levels above me.  That wasn’t playing.  My brain seemed to insist that there was more to do, but wasn’t pointing me at anything viable.

I did recalled that I needed to go up the sky tram at the starting hub to an encampment up on one of the peaks.  There I found myself just within the right level range, but that quickly led me into Scarwood Reach.  I was still just level 27 so that did not bode well.

In looking at the map however, I noticed that I had another option.

Map of my area

I can still find references to Iron Pine Peak starting at level 41, but that appears to have been revamped somewhere along the way and was now right in the level range for me.  I took a side trip up there into the snow and ice.

So I headed through the local portal and went to play in the snow.

The quest chain in IPP seemed familiar in that way things do when you’re been away for five years but still have bits and pieces of bouncing around in your head.  IPP was not one of my favorite zones, but I hauled around there through level 28 and into level 29.

Level 29 in the snow

That done, I actually hit the portal at the west end of IPP and headed back to Scarwood Reach where I started in on the quest line there.  For some reason Scarwood Reach is another zone that I remember pretty well, so I have been following the chain of tasks there.

I’ve been here before… I know where the artifacts spawn

Scarwood Reach as a zone is pretty good and I have move through it well enough.

Overall however, momentum in Rift Prime has clearly slowed down.  The guild I am in, which was semi-active, with everybody playing at least a bit each week, has now pretty much dragged to a halt.  I may be the only one who has logged into the game in the last two weeks.

As I mentioned at the top of the post, activity in EVE Online has been eating up a good portion of my gaming time.  But the ennui bit is also a factor too.  I’ve probably played more Age of Empires II in the last week than Rift Prime in the last two weeks.  I also had a good game of Civilization II going over the weekend, though that has reached a bit of a “me vs. the world” stalemate… which I still played for a while rather than log into Rift.

I’m not calling it yet, but my nostalgia time here seems to be in peril.

No Trove of Mounts for You Today!

I have not been playing as much Rift Prime this month as I might have.  Other things have been taking up my game time like the fun in the north in EVE Online.

Still, being the completionist nut that I am, I have been logging in just about every day to collect my daily reward, mostly because on the 21st day you get a mount.  This morning was day 21… I missed a day somewhere… so I logged on to get my mount.  Damn straight!

The last box is the best box

I clicked on the claim button and… nothing happened.  Which was odd, because there is usually something that comes up in the chat window and the ability to claim goes away.  So I clicked it again and still nothing.  On the third click I noticed that an error was coming up in small red text above the rewards window indicating that my inventory was full.

Trying not to notice the alignment…

Well, dopey me, my bags were full, no wonder I couldn’t collected the mount.

Only my bags were not full.  There was ample space in my bags.  So I started tinkering around with inventory, selling a couple of items to see if maybe a little more space would help.  I checked my bank, which also had free space, just in case that somehow counted.  I looked at the mounts tab to see if there was some restriction there.  I dismounted from my own mount, just in case there was some flag that wouldn’t let you collect a mount if you were mounted.  Stranger things have happened.

But nothing helped.  Meanwhile the game, as it is wont to do, was continuing the remind me that I had a daily reward to collect, blinking a button and putting a special little icon up on the mini-map.

Yes, I know…

So I went to Google to see if this was a known issue, but there was nothing related.  So I headed to the forums.  At the top of the bug reports section I found somebody saying that they were having the same issue.  There is always a moment of relief that it isn’t just me having a problem.  A response to the report was given, consisting of a link to a post in the Rift Prime Vigil General Discussion forum.  There I found that the ability to claim the trove of mounts had been turned off.

DAILY CALENDAR: TROVE OF MOUNTS IS TEMPORARILY DISABLED

The Daily Calendar reward “Trove of Mounts” has a bad loot table and has been temporarily disabled.

The Trove will be fixed and unlocked in the next patch. No CS ticket is needed.

The box was giving out duplicate mounts (something it should NOT do) or no mounts at all. Any player that managed to collect their Trove in the hour it was available will be given a replacement Trove of Mounts after the patch goes out. Again, no CS ticket is needed.

Our apologies – I know many of you were very much looking forward to your next mount

So the ability to claim was… well, it wasn’t really turned off.  I guess making the test for inventory space always return that it was full was the most expedient way to disable the feature, but it is a bit of a pisser to spend 30 minutes screwing around trying to figure out the issue, when the problem is that I might not get a mount, or maybe a dupe.

Anyway, we’ll see if they can fix this before the month is out.  But the UI keeps reminding me that I have a reward to collect.

Catching Up in Stonefield

After my side experiment with an alt I went back to my cleric main and returned to Stonefield, the zone that is, in fact, mostly stone and fields.  Aptly named indeed.

Stonefield

However, just because Trion had adjusted the quest experience didn’t mean that I was automatically back on track.  I was still easily a level behind and had to spend a bit of time back tracking to make sure I hadn’t missed any quests as well as running the four daily quests in Granite Falls until I had gotten myself back into the sweet spot.

Despite some disdain I have heard for Stonefield, I still like it.  It isn’t up to the standard set by Freemarch, and it does seem to have been named quite literally, being made up of a lot of stone with some fields scattered about, but it has its moments.  There are some good quest lines to follow and a bit or irony.

For example, if you watch the loading screens, you might see this message go by.

Also applicable to Silicon Valley

I happened to see that one just in time to get to the point in a quest chain where the Defiants decide to summon a titan with their technology.

Just because we can summon a titan…

Of course, nobody asked the titan’s opinion on all of this and he runs amok and eventually you have to lure him back and slay him, which is a bit of a challenge as he is elite and hits like a truck.  And if you’re a level low it is even more fun.  So kiting him around was the order of the day, something doable by my cleric with his healing familiar to keep him alive.

Turning to finish him off

I’ve run through the zone, made it up to level 26, and have gotten a chunk of the achievements from around the place.

Achievement for stealing from NPCs

And the exploration achievement I got much sooner than I expected.  No need to find that corner I missed.

Exploration done

But I remain stuck on one key achievement that I want, which is for finishing up quests.  The achievement is triggered when you complete 73 quests and I am five shy of that number.  I know it is doable… or was doable… because I did it before, back in 2012.

Quest count…

I just have to find those five missing quests.

Quests seem to come in three flavors in Rift; those handed out by NPCs, carnage quests you get for killing one of a mob type, and quests from drops.  Each has their own problem.

NPC areas and their quest givers can be overrun by various rift creature manifestations, so you might missed them.  For carnage quests, you have to find and kill one of the creatures, and some of the quests are for killing one creature alone.  And quests from drops are always problematic because you might not get the drop.

We shall see.  I don’t want to move on until I have that achievement.  The completionist in me demands it.  But I have the lead-in quests for Scarlet Gorge already as well.  That post from 2012 I linked above actually has a couple of hints, so I have something to run down.  And I’ll kill some stuff along the way, just to see if I get a quest drop.

Do you have a quest drop for me?

I also have to get that squirrel achievement. Can’t leave without that.

Meanwhile, I carry on.  I remain invested enough to grapple with the next zone.

I also saw that I was getting close to the end of my 30 days of patron access, necessary for Rift Prime, so I logged into Rift to buy another 30 days with my pile of otherwise unused gems.  I found that, since I was still a patron I got a bit of a discount on my next 30 days.

How much for 30 days?

Normally it is 2,400 gems, but since I was still active it was only 2,160.  Nice.

I realize I haven’t playing as diligently as some.  There are people who hit level 50 in the first week or two who are now demanding that Trion unlock the next thing, which Trion has been cagey about when that might occur.  But I am not so far behind as to be alone.  I still run into enough people to make running around and closing rifts and such a viable activity.

Rift Prime Data Points

The dev update notes from Trion this week indicate that Rift Prime is pretty popular.

With Tiger mount his time is spent, lagging in that zone event

The update itself was to address concerns about lag people have been experiencing on the Rift Prime server during zone events.  In explaining the plan they dropped a few interesting facts that speak to the popularity of Rift Prime:

  • This may come as a surprise: Some of the zone events on Prime are bigger than even the biggest, record setting events RIFT had during its beta and original launch.
  • Since then, souls and abilities have gotten more numerous, more complicated, and more resource intensive, primarily in their use of server CPU.
  • Even with the newer hardware that the Prime cluster is running on (it’s a beast – the newest in the company), we’ve all experienced that at times it is not always able to keep up with the mass of data.
  • The reason this may affect you even when you’re personally not in a big zone event is because large numbers of people sharing your “player service” are.

So Rift Prime has seen the largest zone events ever during the life of the game.  I think this pretty much sells the idea that such servers are popular.  You can argue about whether the nostalgia factor is the draw or if it is just the idea of starting again on a fresh server where everybody is level one is what brings people to them, but this reaffirms the popularity of such servers overall.

This also corrects my own pet theory, that Trion wasn’t really sold on the idea of Rift Prime and so used whatever hardware they had to hand to stand it up.  Instead we’re apparently playing on the biggest, baddest hardware that Trion has.  Nice to know.

Finally, it is interesting to me at least that abilities that were added or updated after Rift’s early peak have come back to haunt the game with the boost in popularity it has achieved with Rift Prime.   A quote on that:

However, nothing on Live compares to the crazy things that a couple of abilities were doing on Prime. (We’re looking at YOU, Elemental Barrage and Wrathful Exuberance!)

And so it goes.

Rift Prime Leveling After the Patch

Or patches.  There were a few patches applied to Rift Prime last week, though the main one on Wednesday was the one that was probably of most interest.

Downtime Tiger caught mid-dash, please don’t let the server crash

That patch was the one set to address the quest line experience issue.

Up until the patch, if you set about to follow the various quest chains that lead you around Telara, you would rather quickly find the quest levels out pacing you, even if you diligently picked up every quest, carnage or otherwise, and spend time beating down every invasion or rift that came your way.

This is one of those delicate balance things.  I’ve oft complained about the other side of the coin, where quests are so rewarding that the quest chain in a zone goes gray and becomes trivial before you’ve reached the end of the story.

Anyway, this is one of the issues that came up almost immediately and seemed like something Trion could verify pretty easily, but it still took them two weeks to do something about it.  I know after a couple of decades in software that no fix is ever as fast or as perfect as you think it will be, but my gut says they should have tweaked this sooner… on a retro server having the right feel and pacing is pretty critical to maintaining your base… and then move on to add the tool that allows them to adjust the dial on various aspects of experience gain later.

Still, it did get done, and my initial observation was that it seemed to be about on track.  But I thought I would give is a more thorough look.  So I rolled up an alt.

On Rift Prime you are limited to two characters.  The stated reason is to force interdependence, which means that they don’t want you having all the trade skills on a single account.  That seems like a short-sighted move to me.  You truly dedicated would likely roll up and play through with one of each of the archetypes, so you’ve cut their options in half, while the very much WoW-inspired crafting system is going to make the market suffer from the usual problem of over-production of trivial items that one has to go through in order to level a trade skill.  How many tin longswords can the market absorb?  Not that many at all.

After rolling a cleric I decided my other character should be a warrior.  I had rolled one up before the patch, but did not get too far with him, so I deleted him and re-rolled another warrior with the same name, which led to a sort of odd series of inheritances.

The new warrior showed up in the world with some of the settings from the old version set.  I had tinkered with the number of hot bars and dropped out of the default guild with the first guy, and when I re-rolled and entered the world I found that those remained.  Other key settings I had to go back and click again.

Must stop those proposals

Once I got that settled I started off down the quest chain, all the more quickly for having done it so recently.  I was out of the starting area and down the path for not too long before I hit level 10 over at Kelari Refuge.

Level 10 already

The quests did seem to be keeping me in their level zone as I continued around Freemarch along the north side of the zone and through the quests and their various quirks.

And to you!

I kept running along until I got to the back end of the zone and level 16.  I felt that the tripling of quest experience had done its bit, that you could follow the quest chain and not fall behind.  I ran after rifts now and then when they were handy, and did a zone event along the way, but those don’t seem to reward enough experience to upset the apple cart, save for the daily “close some rifts or kill some rift creatures” quests.

So, problem solved, at least tentatively.  I can’t speak for how it goes beyond Stonefield, where my main is playing, but so far so good.

Of course, that isn’t the only problem Rift Prime is facing.  While queues have diminished to almost nothing even at peak times, random bouts of lag are still an issue.  I can go for a while and have no problem at all and then for a stretch NPCs don’t respond, quest don’t update, and even stages linger past their time for several very noticeable seconds.  And when that delay goes longer, it is often followed by a crash and a request for the player to respond.

Send in the report or send in the report… or cancel I guess…

And you can tell when the crash is hitting a large group of people, because then the report fails to go through as well.

Sorry, no report from you

I love me some cryptic error numbers, and there is no re-try, so whatever my computer had to report fell by the wayside.

I am sure this has been a voyage of discovery for the folks at Trion.  We shall see what was learned if they give this thing another try in a couple of years.

The East End of Stonefield

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I finished up Freemarch and was moving into Stonefield in Rift Prime.  While the leveling via quests dynamic was holding me a bit behind in levels, I was still about set, entering Stonefield and hitting level 18.

Stonefield tiger in the wild, find a quest hub for this child

But it wasn’t too long before pushing into Stonefield that the quest trail started to pull away from me.  Quests are pretty manageable at up to two levels ahead of your own level, but after that the situation gets a bit dicey and it wasn’t too long before I was wading around in quests three or four levels above me.  I was level 19 by then, but the quests were 22 and up.  Not a viable position for me.

After looking at the map I realized that the lead-in quest for the zone teleported me a ways into the zone and that the quests from there had only sent me back to the previous quest hub.

Stonefield map

Something in the back of my head told me that there was something to be found in the gap between that first quest hub and the boarder with Freemarch along the road between the two.

Sure enough, there were a few quests there, which helped me along.  But it wasn’t enough to catch up.  I was still lingering at level 19.  And then Wednesday’s patch hit.

There were a few items in that patch, but the key one was this:

QUEST EXPERIENCE HAS BEEN DRASTICALLY INCREASED! The exact percentage of the increase varies by level range, but is substantial– about 3x overall!

Increased quest experience, enough to keep me on track I was pretty sure.  But first I would have to get back on track.  Boosted quest experience only helps when you can actually do the quests.

I had an idea.  I went back to Freemarch and picked up the daily rift event related quests from three different quest hubs and ran after some rifts for a bit.  That was four quests total and I can confirm that the experience output was noticeably higher.  After closing a second rift to finish off the last of them, I hit level 20.

So many notifications

That was just enough to get me back on the rails in Stonefield.

Still, all was not as well as one might have hoped.  There was a report that invasion experience was wrong now and that something was amiss with warfronts (battlegrounds), the latter coming into play because somebody grabbed the PvP guild quest.  We were knocking out the PvE ones too quickly I guess.

Anyway, there is another emergency maintenance downtime today to address issues as yet unspecified.  Lag and server stability are still issues.  We shall see how things look tonight.  I am sure this is all a learning experience for Trion.  Daybreak has the advantage of having done the retro server a few times and they still stumble a bit at every launch.

Finishing Freemarch and the Vendors of the Ascended

The Rift Prime venture continued to hold my attention over the weekend, though it was admittedly a weekend where I did not have a lot of spare time to play.

Rising up, back on the street, did my time, took my chances

I managed to complete the circuit around Freemarch, completing quests as the chain zig-zagged across the zone, slaying mobs, collecting items, and eating cheese.

Yes, it even includes a cheese eating pun in the achievement

The problem was that by the time I had gotten around to where quests started to dry up I was just hitting level 17, which was a bit shy of the level you want to be to head on to the next zone, Stonefield.  The game was ready to send me there.  I had the quest.  But I felt like I needed to be at least closer to 18 to move off to a zone that is billed as starting at level 20.  Even doing the near constant zone events hadn’t edged me far enough along.

Oh, we’re slaying this guy again

So I did what I often do and checked my achievements.  Rift came along after WoW had already made achievements a necessary feature, so it has a pretty complete set, including the usual exploration and quests in zone variations.  Sure enough, I had yet to explore all of the zone and I was a good eight quests shy of that achievement as well.

Freemarch and Meridian

The problem seemed to lay in my faulty memory of the game.  I would wander off to where I thought the next quest ought to be, causing me to miss a couple of quests along the way.  I seemed to have a pattern of not going to the beach, so I rode off to where, in the dusty bits of my memory, I seemed to recall a few quests lingering.

Riding off to the beach at dusk

I rode because along the way I had also sprung for a horse.  Paring down my bag inventory mercilessly and selling a few items at the auction house made investment in a mount seem worthwhile.  There are only a few choices.

Horses for sale

I went for the bay.  It doesn’t feel all that fast, but it is faster than walking at least.

I found a few quests at one beach, then a couple more up the way in an unexplored area, then was left with both one unexplored point on the map and a couple of quests.  That unexplored location was another beach area just east of Kelari Refuge.  So it was that I got the exploration achievement as soon as I arrived.

Freemarch explored

And, once there I found a couple of quests ready and the location where I expected to find another, though it had been overrun by an invasion foothold that I had to take out in order to get the quest giver to respawn.  That is a thing with Rift, you sometimes have to clear hostiles off the quest hub.

Once I got those setup… and then helped clear a water rift that had descended on the beach in the middle of the area I needed… again, a very much a thing in Rift… I was able to finish up the quests, getting the achievement on the last turn in.

The Long March complete

That achievement actually had a reward, some void stones, one of the in-game currencies, so seemed worth doing for both that and the experience.  And there was even one more quest over on the shore that I had not done, though I recalled it requiring a stretch of underwater work.  That doesn’t thrill me, so I let it be and headed back towards Meridian to clear my bags and see about getting to Stonefield.

Up to that point I had forgotten that the game had something equivalent to the hearthstone in WoW, though why I should have forgotten that when Rift copied so much of WoW is something of a mystery.  I only chanced upon it when I was looking at my abilities for something else.

Like a hearthstone, but doesn’t take up a bag slot

Of course, five years down the road the WoW version of this has become three different hearthstones (which, of course, take up three different bag slots) that have only a 20 minute cool down.  Now an hour seems so unreasonable.  I’ve got places to be, I can’t wait an hour!

Anyway, I got my void stones, clear my bag, and got a lift to Stonefield.  I was just shy of 18 at that point, but found some quests open to me when I arrived.  However, once I rolled over to level 18 a bunch more suddenly became available, proving my point.

So I am starting off on the second zone, still having a good enough time.  I opted for Rift over WoW all week.

Stonefield, where there are more rifts

I am starting to agree more and more that progress relative to the quest chain is off, even when I have done a bunch of rifts and invasion events.  But I haven’t taken the time to go off and do a dungeon yet.  Maybe I need to do that as well.  The last time I did Realm of the Fae, the first dungeon on the list, was December 2011 and I have almost no memory of it.

The world seems to still be quite well populated.  I’ve always found other people around when doing the various events.  But it feels like the events are set to go off at a pretty rapid pace, so I wonder if Freemarch will simply be overrun when the population dries up some more.  Or maybe the level scaling will keep people coming back in search of planarite.  We shall see.

I did see some of the server issues people had been complaining about.  At a couple of points during peak hours it was taking quest NPCs a while to respond and rift event transitions seemed to lag.  And during one invasion event it looked like the whole zone got disconnected a couple of times.  Lots and lots of people dropped and logging back in.  But the login queues didn’t seem to be a thing, at least when I was getting online.

Meanwhile the Carnival of the Acended, the Rift anniversary event, launched on the live servers.  Trion had said they were going to do something on Rift Prime for it, which I had hoped it might add a bit of spice, or at least something else to add to the xp budget.  But in the end they just put a couple of vendors in the cities and called it a day.

Vendors of the ascended

As if being encouraged to celebrate a holiday by spending money wasn’t too real world enough, the vendors had crap all worth getting.  I had hope that maybe there might be a cosmetic hat on which to spend some of my void stones, but I was destined to be disappointed.  I will save my void stones for something else.

So there it is. I continue along with Rift Prime for the moment.